Former Trump national security adviser Michael Flynn’s legal team accepted a federal judge’s offer to delay sentencing to allow their client to continue to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s legal team.
Federal district court Judge Emmet Sullivan told the retired three-star general during what was to be his sentencing hearing, “This is a very serious offense. … A high ranking senior official of the government making false statements to the Federal Bureau of Investigation while in the White House,” CNBC reported.
“Arguably, you sold your country out,” he added. “I’m not hiding my disgust, my disdain.”
“I have to caution you that the sentence imposed today may not be the same sentence you would get after cooperation ends,” Sullivan further advised Flynn. “The court likes to be in a position to say there is nothing else this defendant can to do help the United States of America.”
The court then took a brief recess, and when it reconvened Flynn’s attorneys informed Sullivan they would take him up on his offer.
There will be a hearing on March 13 to assess Flynn’s status as a cooperating witness.
On Monday, Mueller’s team turned over to Sullivan a heavily redacted witness report, known as a FD-302, of Flynn’s interview with FBI agents on Jan. 24, 2017, just days after President Donald Trump took office, according to Fox News.
The document — finalized on Feb. 15, 2017, two days after Flynn resigned for misleading Vice President Mike Pence concerning his conversation with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak — states that Flynn replied “not really” when asked if he had asked Kislyak not to escalate tensions over newly imposed sanctions by outgoing President Barack Obama.
“I don’t remember,” Flynn also told the agents, according to the 302. “It wasn’t, ‘Don’t do anything.'”
Flynn, in fact, had asked Kislyak to “refrain from escalating the situation in response to sanctions that the United States had imposed on Russia that same day,” according to prosecutors, who said Kislyak “had chosen to moderate its response to those sanctions as a result of his request.”
Earlier this month, Mueller filed a sentencing memorandum in federal district court in Washington, D.C., recommending no jail time for Flynn given his “substantial assistance” with the Russia probe.
Flynn’s legal team submitted its own filing last week to Sullivan asking for probation and community service for their client for making false statements to the FBI.
In the document, Flynn’s attorneys alleged that then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe pushed the Trump administration official to not have an attorney present during the informal questioning at the White House, which ultimately led to their client’s guilty plea in December 2017.
The legal team also claimed that FBI agents deliberately failed to inform him during their initial sitdown that making false statements could constitute a crime.
A House Intelligence Committee report released in May revealed that McCabe testified that the two agents, after speaking with Flynn, “didn’t think he was lying.”
Sullivan questioned Flynn directly about his legal team’s filing regarding inappropriate conduct by the FBI during his Jan. 24, 2017 interview.
“I can not recall any incident in which the court accepted a guilty plea in which he was not guilty, and I don’t intend to start today,” the judge said.
“Are you continuing to accept responsibility for your false statements?” Sullivan asked.
“I am, your honor,” Flynn answered.
During the hearing, Sullivan questioned prosecutors on whether Flynn, hypothetically, could have been charged with treason.
“The government has no reason to believe” that the decorated combat veteran “committed treason” was the response.
Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!”
Good luck today in court to General Michael Flynn. Will be interesting to see what he has to say, despite tremendous pressure being put on him, about Russian Collusion in our great and, obviously, highly successful political campaign. There was no Collusion!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 18, 2018
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